Avşar was a reporter for Sözcü Newspaper. Currently, she works as a crime and court reporter at Cumhuriyet Newspaper. In 2020 she was awarded the Metin Göktepe Written News Award for her article “Cleaning in return for a mansion” in Cumhuriyet newspaper and the Uğur Mumcu Investigative Journalism Award for her article “FETÖ exchange”. The article “FETÖ exchange” is the subject of this indictment. Avşar is also the subject of several criminal investigations and prosecutions because of her other articles.
The injured parties of the indictment are Lütfi Karabacak (Karabacak) and Ismet Bozkurt (Bozkurt). Both were public prosecutors in Istanbul (Çağlayan) Courthouse and dealt with a number of significant well-known cases. They were suspended in March 2019 as a result of an investigation conducted by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor`s Office. At the time of the suspension, Karabacak was working as public prosecutor at the Terror and Organized Crimes Bureau. Bozkurt was public prosecutor at the Unidentified Crimes Bureau. The decision of suspension was issued by the 2nd Chamber of the Council of Judges and Prosecutors and was based on the allegations that the prosecutors took bribes from members the Gülen Organization. On 16 January 2020, both were dismissed from public duty as a result of the disciplinary investigation.
At the same time, Bakırköy Public Prosecution Office conducted a criminal investigation against both former prosecutors. The prosecutors were charged with “bribery”, “corruption”, “trade of influence”, “disclosure of the secret regarding the duty” and “violation of confidentiality”i and are facing prison time from 7 years 10 months to 28 years 6 months if they are convicted. The trials are still pending.
Avşar wrote two separate news articles on 17 March 2019 and 22 March 2019 and they were published by Cumhuriyet newspaper. In her first article, she referred to the indictments against the two prosecutors where the alleged crime was that they took money to decide on non- prosecution in the investigations related to members of the Gülen organisation. She also wrote that the prosecutors were suspended because of this issue.
In her second article, she included details about the disciplinary investigations against the two prosecutors.
A criminal investigation was initiated against Avşar after she published her articles. On 8 May 2019 she gave her testimony before the public prosecutor in her case. On 19 September 2019 she was indicted with insulting public officers. Avşar’s defense lawyer noticed that there were two other indictments with the same accusations against Avşar. In the end, only one trial was initiated.
On 16 January 2020 the first hearing of the Avşar case was held at Istanbul 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance. Avşar did not participate in the hearing. Her lawyer requested the court not to proceed to the merits of the trial, since the indictment was not issued within the due date according to the Press Law. The lawyer also mentioned that there were three different indictments against the defendant with the same accusation. She requested Avşar’s acquittal. In the same hearing, the court decided to drop the case related to the Press Law Article 26, as the indictment was not accepted by the court within four months after the publications of the articles.